Correspondence of John Graves

Archive Unit

Scope and Content

John Graves's correspondence to Graves, and in later years to Beryl Graves, demonstrates his deep interest in matters of family history and genealogy, and the complexities of his role as executor of the estate of his mother Amy Graves. This included managing and distributing the royalties from Alfred Perceval Graves's literary works, the sale of many family papers, and attempts to keep track of the family silver, jewelry and paintings. He assisted additionally in the disposal of Charles Graves's papers and estate. His letters also report family news, including the funerals of Amy Graves and Jenny Nicholson, which Graves did not attend; and developments in his own personal and professional life mainly spent as a teacher and headmaster, but with a brief period as a journalist, and later as a historian of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. John Graves's family research encompassed the Irish family of their father, their mother's German family, including the Tiarks and the von Rankes; it also reached to Sibyl Hathaway, Dame of Sark, and speculated on a connection with Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War. The series includes ms letter to Graves (21 February 1932) which responds to Graves's criticism of the dedication made to him by John Graves in the latter's 'Boy's Book of Association Football' and goes on to discuss aspects of 'Goodbye to All That' that John Graves found disagreeable. John Graves reflections include: his happy memories of Graves and his family in Boar's Hill and Islip and their games of football; his views on the education of Graves's son David; on the pain caused by Graves to their mother, in particular from his relationship with Laura Riding; on their father's pride and support for Graves's work, and the last days of his life. The series also includes a letter from John Graves to Amy Graves (17 February 1949) describing the funeral of Molly Preston née Graves; and also a copy letter from Sally Chilver to John Graves (14 February 1974) and a draft letter, in Beryl Graves's hand, from Graves to George [Graves?] (undated), both on the subject of silver and jewelry once in the possession of Philip Perceval Graves and his wives Millicent (née Gilchrist) and Kitty (Dewar née Palmer).


Material arrived arranged in chronological order; this order has been maintained with occasional corrections to the chronology. The two 1974 letters, from Sally Chilvers to John Graves, and from Graves to George Graves[?] remain at the end of the series.


Canelluñ Collection number: CC0410

This refers to the arrangement of the papers in Robert Graves’ study before they were transferred to the College.

Corporate Names